Interview: Marian Mereba
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 10:05:55
Marian Mereba Videos
Marian Mereba adds just the right amount of soul back into pop music. She's got a smooth voice meant for old school R&B, but there's a decidedly fresh and fiery flavor to songs like her single "September" [iTunes link]. You'll instantly be humming along after one listen.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Marian Mereba discusses "September", her influences, and so much more.
What ties the EP together for you?
They’re songs that we thought would showcase the album well. You’ve got a taste of it on “September”. That’s a song that anchors the project in terms of its attitude and flare. It’s a progression for me as an artist. I’m coming out of being a mostly acoustic artist in Atlanta. I wanted to definitely show the expansion of the production. That’s song’s there. “Go To London” is a reimagined version of an earlier song on my other EP. You get a little bit of rapping, guitar, and the new sound with the production. It’s a nice little sample. When you listen to the album, those four songs will make sense as representations of it.
What’s “September” about?
It’s a scorned lover’s song, but it’s less of a pity party and more empowering. It’s definitely a true story. I was dating somebody, and I found out they had done me wrong. I was driving home from somewhere, and I came up with the beat in my head and started humming this bass line. I got home to my house, went to my keyboard, and made a little mock-up of a beat. I basically wrote the song about leaving a relationship. Even though the person disrespected you or did you wrong, you find power in the fact they’re going to go on with their lives and regret what they did to you, and you’re going to go on and continue to be great. You remember your value because of what they did to you. That was the idea of the song. I’m also born in September so I look at it as a very regenerative month. Everything is beginning the cycle and starting anew. It’s a time when you bury things and get ready to blossom as Spring comes.
Where did “Go To London” come from?
I wrote “Go To London” about two years ago when I was graduating from college. I was in a relationship at the time. I was really at a crossroads in my life. I was trying to figure out where I was going to go with my career and how to be a musician. There was a lot of uncertainty at that time in my life. I made the decision to get out of the relationship and be on my own. “Go To London” represents the fact you should go and follow your dreams and whatever personal destiny you have for yourself instead of tying up your destiny and being with somebody else. It’s about finding yourself separate from your significant other.
What artists shaped you?
I was so into music. I'd say Nirvana, Jay-Z, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan. I really liked their music growing up. Then, there was Stevie Wonder and Kanye West. Tracy Chapman was a big influence for me. Also, I'd say Lauryn Hill. Those are some of the influences that have stood the test of time for me, and I still visit all of their art for inspiration.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the music?
Yeah, I think that's part of what it's about for me. As much as I love singing and music, I love writing the most. That's my favorite part of the process. I've always been into telling stories. Even when I was in elementary school and I had to tell stories, I was excited about the idea of coming up with a story, executing and telling it. It naturally manifests itself in my music. Every song I have is a story. That's why I'm writing it. It's important for me to paint pictures and be an escape for my listeners. I think everybody needs that.
If you were to compare the album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a really good question! I'd say Alice in Wonderland mixed with the movie Into the Wild mixed with Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump is my favorite movie, and he's got this epic story from start to finish. I'd like to think I have a story to tell.
Did you watch the "September" video?